EvoLogics rolls out new PingGuin AUV
German subsea engineering firm EvoLogics has unveiled the PingGuin – an autonomous underwater vehicle with low-drag bionic design.
The vehicle, first demonstrated in Kiel, Germany, in June 2020 is part of the MUM (Modifiable Underwater Mothership) R&D project.
Outstanding hydrodynamic properties of a penguin’s body became the starting point for the AUV design.
One of the EvoLogics co-founders, Dr. Rudolph Bannasch studied Adélie penguins and the effectiveness of their locomotion since the 80s.
Consequently, this research demonstrated that spindle-shaped flow bodies, modeled after penguins, achieve ultra-low drag coefficients in the water.
Hence, the design choices for the vehicle’s components were directed at maintaining the shape and contour of an idealized penguin-like spindle to maximize the drag efficiency, so the AUV has very few protruding parts that affect its hydrodynamic performance, EvoLogics explains.
The NaviMUM PingGuin is specifically intended for use as a multifunctional communication node.
It would operate in a self-coordinated AUV swarm that enables adaptable positioning and communication scenarios for the MUM system.
Each vehicle carries a built-in streamlined EvoLogics USBL modem for underwater data transfers and position estimations, the modem features an integrated atomic clock for precise synchronization of the acoustic network.
The AUV’s surface communication module comprises Wifi, Radio and GNSS with a combined collapsible antenna ( or optional Iridium/GSM modem).
The propulsion system includes 4 horizontal thrusters in X-shaped configuration and 3 vertical thrusters for maneuverability and speed.
This also allows the vehicle to hold position and hover in the water column.
The PingGuin’s step back from its wildlife counterpart is the anchoring mechanism that extends out of the vehicle’s body and allows it to remain stationary at the seafloor.
Specifically, the anchoring tripod is a pop-out construction coming flush with the vehicle’s body when retracted. Also, the PingGuin’s “beak” features a grip mechanism that can enable docking.
Within the MUM system, a group of PingGuin AUVs form a flexible and adaptable acoustic network.
When hovering, the AUVs can form a relay to transfer data from mobile or stationary MUM modules.
Operating as a surface node, PingGuin can transfer data over WiFi, radio, or GSM to a vessel or shore station.
With its GNSS antenna and an acoustic modem, the surface node can perform geo-referencing of other underwater assets within MUM.
For operations that require accurate LBL positioning, a group of PingGuin AUVs would use the anchoring function and become seafloor nodes performing as the LBL baseline.
Using AUVs as LBL baseline would eliminate the need to recover seafloor nodes when repositioning the LBL coverage area.